Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Sep. 2022 (Issue 148)

We have original science fiction by RJ Theodore (“The Application of Strawberry Lip Gloss in a Low-Gravity Environment”) and “The CRISPR Cookbook: A Guide to Biohacking Your Own Abortion in a Post-Roe World,” by MKRNYILGLD. We also have a flash piece (“Civilian Assumptions”) from Dominique Dickey, along with an SF reprint by Karl Schroeder (“Eminence”). Plus, we have original fantasy by Kristina Ten (“The Queen of the Earless Seals of Lake Baikal”) and Martin Cahill (“Her Five Farewells”). We also have a flash piece (“The Inheritance of Dust and Leather”) from Jenny Rae Rappaport. Our fantasy reprint is by Cody Goodfellow (“The Sister City”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author spotlights, along with book reviews from our terrific review team. Our ebook readers will also enjoy a book excerpt of Kay Chronister’s new novel, Desert Creatures.

In This Issue: Sep. 2022 (Issue 148)

Editorial

Editorial: September 2022

Welcome to Lightspeed’s 148th issue! Our first SF story of the month might be one of our most timely. From writer MKRNYILGLD comes “The CRISPR Cookbook: A guide to biohacking your own abortion in a post-Roe world,” and the title does a great job describing it. Be sure not to miss it. Our flash SF […]

Science Fiction

The CRISPR Cookbook: A Guide to Biohacking Your Own Abortion in a Post-Roe World

If you’re reading this—on some godforsaken imageboard, or dog-eared book page, or in encrypted base pairs sequenced off 3D-printed oligos—you’re probably grappling with a pretty tough decision right now. Breathe. I’m not judging you. I know how it goes. You tried your best but nothing’s infallible, or you slipped up one night, or he just straight-up went, your biological clock’s ticking, and hacked your birth control, knowing once it happens you won’t have a choice. The second his sperm enters your egg, he’s done, back to his star-studded career cranking out Science and Cell papers.

Fantasy

The Inheritance of Dust and Leather

It never was a love story. Or perhaps it was, but I was too blind to see it. I kissed him because I had to—because the castle demanded it and the servants needed it—and frankly, the dead are talkative bastards. He transformed, and in his place was a man dressed in green and gold with hair that needed trimming and hands instead of paws. And I smiled, because it was expected, and I said “Yes” because it was expected. And then, I married him for his library.

Science Fiction

Civilian Assumptions

Like their battleship, Maddox was born for war. They emerged from the nursery with one purpose alone: to expand the Consortium’s borders, a bloody mission that had lasted generations, and would last generations to come. Any civilian raised in the Consortium would know a few things about Maddox: That Maddox goes into battle unafraid. That they believe the Consortium’s cause is a just one. And that they are blindingly in love with their ship. Like all captains, Maddox raised Olivia—that was what they named their ship, a soft name for a dangerous thing—from a seed.

Fantasy

The Queen of the Earless Seals of Lake Baikal

Dia was four years old when she first saw the earless seals of Lake Baikal, and twenty-four when she met their queen. In the time between, she moved from her small town, which was a short train ride’s distance to the lake, to the big city, which was a short train ride’s distance to everything, and went to university to study hotel management. Dia was well suited for hospitality; she was accommodating by nature. In the city, she learned the art of the turndown: how to dim the lights and plump the pillows just right.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: She and Her Cat, by Makoto Shinkai, translated by Naruki Nagakawa

Looking for a good cry? Reviewer Aigner Loren Wilson recommends this new hardcover edition of She and Her Cat, written by Makoto Shinkai and translated by Naruki Nagakawa.

Science Fiction

The Application of Strawberry Lip Gloss in a Low-Gravity Environment

Gordon noted another entry in her portfolio of regrets. She regretted being reckless early in her career and ending up in med armor so young. She regretted leaving Samela, almost as much as she regretted meeting Samela. Regretted letting Sam steal her ship. And now, she regretted answering that want ad for a shipmate. Her suit suggested a mild pain reliever for the oncoming headache, which she accepted with a blink of her right eye. A whiff of medicinal vapor escaped her collar.

Author Spotlight

Fantasy

The Sister City

When Loren left, he said it wasn’t me but the city. “This place hates me, Julian,” he said of LA. “I have to live in a city that loves me like this shithole loves that douchebag from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.” Typically, he buried the casual cruelty under a bad joke, but it was the first crack in a reservoir of obsession he’d kept completely secret. When he abruptly left for Portland, he didn’t ask me to come with him, and I wouldn’t shame myself by following him. Fast-forward three months: Loren’s parents come to me to find out what happened to him.

Nonfiction

Book Review: Africa Risen, edited by Thomas, Ekpeki, & Knight

Africa Risen isn’t just a new anthology edited by a triumvirate of amazing editors (Sheree Renée Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, and Zelda Knight)—it’s a terrific read! Let reviewer Arley Sorg tell you why you’ll love it.

Science Fiction

Eminence

Usually, Nathan felt his cares lift a little as he turned the car onto Yuculta Crescent. Today, he had to resist an urge to drive past, even just go home. Nathan passed parked RVs and sports cars as he looked for an empty spot. As he walked back to a modest ochre house, he heard voices: teenagers talking about trading items in some online-game world. Nathan hesitated again. I could still go back to the car, let Grace find out from somebody else. The temptation was almost overwhelming.

Fantasy

Her Five Farewells

When the Asphodel Queen decides she’ll die to save our people from her ex-husband’s tyranny, she commands me to build her a coffin, the very first in our world’s history. Her ageless face of ivory and emerald is water on a windless day; her stillness betrays nothing of her decision. As the Senate screams in sorrow, I am held by her imperial glare, the enormity of my task sinking in like sunlight on skin. “Me, Your Majesty? I’m but a humble craftsman.” Her voice rises above the growing din, as panic races through data-vines and across the crystal-network.

Author Spotlight

Nonfiction

Book Review: Other Terrors, edited by Liaguno & Mason

Chris Kluwe assures us that it’s worth getting a little scared to check out Other Terrors, a new anthology edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Rena Mason.